Iran hosted an Islamist Hamas delegation in Tehran, amid a deepening crisis between the Islamic Republic and the West.
The visiting Palestinian terror group was led by Saleh al-Arouri, who is Hamas Deputy Chief and founding commander of its Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades military wing. Other participants reportedly included Political Bureau Leader Ismail Haniyeh, Moussa Abu Marzouk, Maher Salah, Husam Badran, Osama Hamdan, Ezzat al-Rishq and Ismail Radwan.
During a speech in the Iranian capital, Hamas political bureau leader Ismail Haniyeh boasted, that “The Palestinian resistance possesses missiles that can hit anywhere in Israeli-occupied Palestine.”
Iranian state media reported that during talks with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Hamas Deputy Chief Arouri referred to his militia as Iran’s “first line of defense,” to which Khamenei responded, “The Islamic Republic has no hesitation when it comes to supporting Palestine.”
The Ayatollah was also cited by the country’s Tasnim news agency saying the Palestinian people’s “stunning resistance” in the Gaza strip promised “victory and conquest” against Israel. He went on to underscore that the Hamas “resistance and struggle” is “based on a definite divine promise” that “will surely end in favor of the Palestinian people and the Islamic world.” He later tweeted, “Hamas stands at the core of Palestine’s movement, just as Palestine stands at the core of the World of Islam’s movement.”
Khamenei also reportedly criticized the first stage of the U.S. peace plan to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians through development fuelled by international investment, saying it was a “dangerous conspiracy” to destroy Palestinian identity with money.
According to the Fars news agency, at a later meeting with Kamal Kharazi, the head of Iran’s Strategic Council of Foreign Relations and adviser to Khamenei, Hamas Deputy Chief Arouri said the Gaza-rulers and Iran have the shared-goal to combat the Jewish State, saying “We are on the same path as the Islamic Republic — the path of battling the Zionist entity and the arrogant ones,” he said.